Jul 212014
 

A few weeks ago, I visited Common Theory Public House for their grand opening - I had a really great time there, but I did not get to experience the full menu since they had a limited special menu for the grand opening weekend. S and I went back for another visit recently with some of our friends to check out their other offerings!

I’ve already shared photos of the restaurant in my first post, so I skipped those and went straight for the food this time. 

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

Daily Special: Ahi & Scallop Poke [$13]

The Ahi & Scallop Poke on the daily specials board attracted my friend’s attention immediately. She was pretty surprised when this dish came out, though – it was more of an appetizer than an entrée. She said that although it tasted pretty good – she especially liked the scallops – it wasn’t worth $13, and definitely wasn’t filling enough for her as a meal.

Pork Belly Katsu, served with a candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauce [$9.5]

Pork Belly Katsu, with candied jalapeño and hoisin molasses sauces [$9.5]

One of our friends has tried this before and decided to order it again.

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Continue reading »

Jul 142014
 

Iceskimo is a summer pop-up store in San Diego, serving snow-shaved ice! I was ultra-excited because I love snow-shaved ice, and my friend said that she visited during the soft opening and really liked it. I saw that there was a grand opening event two Saturdays ago, with free snow ice in the afternoon, so of course I had to go check it out!

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True to the pop-up concept, Iceskimo is located inside Pangea Bakery. It is open for the summer (July-September), Fridays through Sundays only.

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The shop is set up to the right of the cake display case. Pangea actually had quite a bit of space there, I wasn’t sure what was there before they opened up Iceskimo.

Here’s their menu of all the shaved snow flavors:

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I was really intrigued by their “Bubble Tea Deconstructed” snow, which had oolong milk tea snow with honey boba and condensed milk. But, the two free snows being offered that day for the grand opening special were the Fresh Strawberry and the Cookie Monster.

Fresh Strawberry Snow

Strawberry Shortcake: strawberry snow, fresh strawberries, house-made shortcake

Continue reading »

Jul 022014
 

A while back, S and I decided to have a date night somewhere close by (as in, UTC area). We wanted to try something new, and he suggested Villa Capri Italian Kitchen, in the Towne Centre Drive plaza. I was craving Italian food, so we decided to check it out.

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This was a spur-of-the-moment thing, so we didn’t have reservations or anything. I was initially worried that we’d have to wait, but luckily there were a few tables open. 

Complimentary bread

Complimentary bread

We started out with a basket of warm bread, which we enjoyed!

The menu was actually quite extensive, consisting of appetizers, salads, pizzas, pastas, and entrées. S and I decided to try one pasta and one entrée.

By the way, I have to apologize for the quality of the photos here. I’m trying out a new lens, but it doesn’t seem to do so well in lower-light conditions.

Penne Villa Capri: penne pasta with Italian sausage, bell peppers, and onion in a pink tomato sauce [$14]

Penne Villa Capri: penne pasta with Italian sausage, bell peppers, and onion in a pink tomato sauce [$14]

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Continue reading »

Jun 272014
 

June is National Seafood Month, and even though the month is quickly winding down (I can’t believe it’s almost time to prepare for 4th of July festivities!), seafood sustainability should always be on consumers’ minds. Recently, I was contacted by Rubio’s PR for a giveaway opportunity in honor of National Seafood Month – details for the giveaway will be at the end of this post.

Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill is native to San Diego and features the fish taco – an iconic San Diego food item that embraces Mexican heritage with Southern California influence. Rubio’s is one of the fast-casual industry’s leaders in sustainable seafood efforts – just look for the little blue fish icon next to their menu to find the certified sustainable seafood items. S and I have been frequenting Rubio’s lately, adding it to our rotation of go-to places when we’re looking to go out for a quick and simple meal. Here, I’ll share a couple of our favorite menu items, which happen to be in the sustainable category!

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We visited the Rubio’s in the UTC Westfield Mall, close to our home. If you walk in to the food court through the entrance next to Tender Greens and Noodles & Company, Rubio’s is right in front of you.

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We picked a few of their salsas. I really like their Diablo hot sauce and the picante salsas:

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Clockwise from top left: Diablo hot sauce, picante salsa, chipotle salsa, salsa verde

We ordered some of our favorites (which also happen to be eco-friendly):

Grilled Tilapia Burrito [$7.69]

Regal Springs Grilled Tilapia Burrito [$7.69]

Continue reading »

Jun 232014
 

I recently purchased a Travelzoo deal for Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro – I’ve heard so many things about this place, and being a chocolate-lover, I definitely wanted to try it out. The deal was actually really good – $39 for any two drinks and two tasting trios, with a box of truffles to take home. I asked my friend E to accompany me, since S isn’t a huge chocolate fan.

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I believe this is the new location, in South Park (teehee).

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The restaurant was quite small but really adorable. I wanted to take some more pictures of the place, but there were several families with kids and I didn’t want to put up photos with them…

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Just take my word for it – the place was cute, and you should check it out for yourself, haha.

Lavendar Lemon Vanilla Bean Champagne Cocktail [$10]

Lavender Lemon Vanilla Bean Champagne Cocktail [$10]

We started out with a champagne cocktail, which was the waitress’ suggestion (and the best value for our voucher). E and I both thought that the vanilla flavor was quite strong, but we couldn’t detect much lavender.

Sea Salt Caramel Drinking Chocolate (55% dark) [$5]

Sea Salt Caramel Drinking Chocolate (55% dark) [$5]

We also couldn’t pass up ordering one of their famous drinking chocolates. We picked the sea salt caramel infusion, which was quite delicious. I loved how the caramel offset the bitterness of the dark chocolate. It was also served with homemade marshmallows! Yum.

For the tasting trios, we could each order an entrée and choose two sides, soup/salad, and/or dessert. E and I decided to share three sides and one dessert.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates: roasted thick-cut bacon-wrapped medjool date, brute cocoa brown sugar glaze, chive [$7]

Bacon-Wrapped Dates: roasted thick-cut bacon-wrapped medjool date, brute cocoa brown sugar glaze, chive [$7]

The bacon-wrapped dates sounded really intriguing to us. I loved the pairing of the salty, smoky bacon with the sweetness of the dates, although I thought that the cocoa brown sugar glaze made it a tad too sweet.

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For one of our entrées, we picked the beer-battered fish:

Beer-Battered Fish: pale ale beer battered white fish, kale chips, lemon, vanilla bean caper tartar sauce [$9]

Beer-Battered Fish: pale ale beer battered white fish, kale chips, lemon, vanilla bean caper tartar sauce [$9]

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Continue reading »

Jun 202014
 

In my post on Craft Pizza Company, I mentioned that they were selling cookies from The Cravory there. I’ve had cookies from The Cravory before at their farmer’s market stand, and they were buttery and rich, with lots of interesting flavor combinations. I was super happy to see that Craft Pizza was offering these cookies and recently purchased a few to try out.

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(Photo from my previous visit to Craft Pizza.)

Cookies & Cream; Sea Salt Caramel; Lemon [$2.75 each]

Cookies & Cream Milkshake; Salted Caramel Cream; Lemon Bar [$2.75 each]

I got the C&C Milkshake because I knew that S would want to try it. It’s made with malted milk, hand-chopped malt balls, crushed Oreos, and Guittard white chocolate – I was initially worried that it’d be overly sweet, but both of us ended up really enjoying it!

Cookies & Cream Milkshake

Cookies & Cream Milkshake

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Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 

Common Theory Public House is a newly-opened gastropub on Convoy St - I’ve been following news of its opening on Eater San Diego, and this past weekend was their grand opening. There would be a lot of specials, so I went to check it out with S and a couple of friends.

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The restaurant is located in the same plaza as Yes! Pingo and the also newly-opened Blush Desserts (which I’ve yet to check out). I can’t remember for the life of me what used to be here… maybe a Korean restaurant?

Anyway, the restaurant is pretty big – there is a bar with 30 taps, and two large open seating areas with private booths and communal tables.

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They had some interesting decor… haha. The bird cages were adorable!

Here’s the cask that was tapped for the grand opening, Ballast Point’s Reef Rye Brown Ale with rum oak chips:

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There was a “Keep the Pint” special for the cask, so S and our friends each got one. I had a Lambic Framboise instead (a raspberry low-percentage beer, yes I am a lightweight).

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Spicy Grilled Chicken Sandwich: shredded veggie slaw, cotija cheese, cilantro aioli, brioche bun; side of fries [$9]

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Continue reading »

Jun 062014
 

A while ago, some of my labmates and I had a conference in downtown San Diego. I actually enjoy conferences in my own city because I feel like it’s more flexible – I can go from the meeting to work or home pretty easily. Of course I have also never been to a conference not in San Diego, so I guess we’ll see how I feel when the time comes, haha. Anyway, my labmate’s birthday was during the conference, so we decided to all have a celebratory lunch somewhere in downtown, and I was given the task of choosing a restaurant. Since I’ve been wanting to check out Cafe 21′s new downtown location, that’s the place I picked!

We had a really large group, and everything was a bit hectic, so I did not get a chance to photograph the place, unfortunately. Everything was really spacious and beautifully decorated with a rustic feel – I loved it.

Cafe 21 has just brunch and dinner menus – no separate breakfast and lunch, which I like. Weekend brunches are nice, but why can’t everyday be a brunch day? Haha. My labmates were really excited because they love brunch food, too.

Mimosa Flight [$21]

Mimosa Flight [$21]

We couldn’t help but order a mimosa flight to share. I believe the price was $21 but please correct me if I’m mistaken! As you can see, there’s a variety of flavors – apple, cucumber, cranberry, blueberry (I think), raspberry, and of course, the classic orange. I tried some of the cucumber, orange, and strawberry ones, and I must say that cucumber was my favorite – super refreshing. I’ll have to try it at home sometime.

I don’t think my labmates have ever been subjected to my taking-pictures-of-everyone’s-food-before-anyone-can-start-eating… haha. Everyone was super nice about it, though!

Prosciutto Omelette [$11]

Prosciutto Omelette: grilled Italian prosciutto, organic heirloom tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese [$11]

Shrimp Omelette [$13]

Shrimp Omelette: marinated shrimp, organic heirloom tomatoes, organic spinach, house pesto sauce, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese [$13]

Lamb Sausage Omelette [$13]

Lamb Sausage Omelette: house made lamb kufta meatball, organic bell peppers, heirloom tomato, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese [$13]

Several of us ordered the cast iron omelettes, which had the most adorable presentation. Continue reading »

Jun 022014
 

Recently, my best friend/roommate from college came to San Diego from the East Coast; unfortunately she was here for a conference and didn’t have much time to hang out, but we were able to have dinner together on her last night here, along with one of our other college friends. We chose Searsucker – S and I have been there for lunch and have been curious about their dinner menu. It’s one of the restaurants owned by Chef Brian Malarkey, who was a contestant on Top Chef, one of my favorite TV shows. (I haven’t seen his other show, though.)

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The restaurant was more noisy than I had remembered, but it was quite lively and upbeat. We had made reservations and were seated promptly. Our server was a really energetic and nice lady, who took us through the specials and brought these out for us, free of charge:

Cheddar Puffers

Cheddar Puffers

They’re listed on the menu for $2, and I was already planning on ordering them, but now we got to try them for free! These cheddar “puffers,” or little biscuits, were absolutely delicious. I loved how soft and fluffy they were. And served warm… mmm.

We decided, for the sake of trying as many things as possible, to order several small plates and a couple of entrées to share.

By the way, all the photos look blurry and dark, because the restaurant was quite dark. Usually if it’s just S and me, he will help with the lighting with his cell phone flashlight, but since we were busy catching up with our friends, I decided to just snap some quick photos so that we could all start eating.

Squid "Sweet Heat" [$9]

Squid “Sweet Heat” [$9]

This was squid cooked in a sweet-chili sauce and tasted very Asian. I wasn’t overly impressed since the sauce tasted just like something that, well, a Chinese take-out place would have. The squid had a nice bouncy texture, though.

Beef Tartare, Pickled Radish Beer Mustard, Yolk [$13]

Beef Tartare + Pickled Radish Beer Mustard + Yolk [$13]

I was quite happy with the beef tartare – I haven’t had beef tartare in a long time, and this version was really enjoyable, especially with the crunchy pickled veggies to add a bright flavor. The dish was served with crispy housemade chips.

Mushrooms + Burrata + Toast [$13]

Mushrooms + Burrata + Toast [$13]

I really loved the roasted mushrooms and creamy burrata and have been wanting to make this at home! Continue reading »

May 232014
 

Before I left for my trip to China, I was at Target running some last-minute errands and buying stuff to bring back to my family. I saw Pieology in the plaza across the street from Target and thought, “I should probably have pizza before I leave.” Haha.

It was a ridiculously windy day (during the first heat wave here, at the end of April), so I just ducked inside after parking my car. No photo of the outside, sorry.

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The interior is very similar to Project Pie, complete with the quote wall. And guess what? They’re also both customize-your-own-pizza shops. And they opened almost around the same time, I think. Hmm….

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You can create your own pizza, or go with one of their suggestions. There are also salads and “Strips,” which I guess are like breadsticks. I decided to customize my own pizza. I’d seen some customers order theirs with different toppings on each half of the pizza, so I thought that’d be a good way for me to try a couple of things even though I was by myself.

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I chose half Italian sausage and half spicy buffalo chicken for my meat toppings (weird, I know… but I was in the mood for buffalo chicken that day for some reason). Continue reading »